The Mother of All Productivity Sinks is about to roll over the world landscape (and I’m not referring to the Victoria’s Secret catalog).

The 2014 World Cup.

Honesty is a rare thing in the ad industry, but in a break from tradition, I won’t pretend — even for the clients reading this — that I’m going to miss key World Cup games to work on their now-meaningless, soccer-free projects.

In fact, unless an email features a client wearing jersey from one of the 32 participating nations, it’s unlikely I’ll even acknowledge the contact.

What will I learn from this groundbreaking admission? Probably that honesty is overrated.

Ad network populated entirely by scambots. Didn’t anyone notice?

Online ad clickthrough rates are so low — and conversions are apparently so bad — that it’s possible for scammers to make millions populating an ad network entirely with scambots.

Most of the advertisers didn’t even know until the trade press broke the story:

Some of the globe’s most recognizable brands — including Oreo, GlaxoSmithKline, Burger King and Sprint — were bilked out of millions of dollars by a Florida company that used fake websites to skim from the ad-tech ecosystem.

Then, the scam’s operators simply disappeared.

Perpetrators of online ad fraud are usually portrayed as running sophisticated, high-tech operations. But this scam is notable for its simplicity. The fact that some of the biggest names in ad tech were unable to detect it draws the industry’s fraud-fighting capabilities into question.

Think about it. An ad network that couldn’t produce anything beyond scambot clicks collected millions and ran for months.

If we’re truly in the era of Big Data, how come nobody knew the online ads aren’t working? Or is the online ad bar now set so low, nobody would know?

Apple looking inward for creative answers

Apple’s looking for the “creative edge” in marketing that has apparently eluded their product people, so they’re building an in-house ad agency.

To the immense (trust me) dissatisfaction of their agencies, Apple’s using their in-house folks to compete with their outside agencies:

Amid criticisms that it has failed to innovate, Apple is increasingly taking marketing into its own hands. It’s madly building an internal agency that it’s telling recruits will eventually number 1,000 — the size of Grey Advertising. It’s pitting TBWA/MAL against this internal agency with “jump balls” to mine the best creative ideas, a controversial tactic with outside agencies, let alone an internal one.

My take? Apple’s flailing.

And for creatives hot for an Apple job, keep this in mind: During the roller-coaster crashes of the pre-iPhone years, Apple became famous among valley creatives for shooting the marketing staff first.

Keep writing (except when Holland plays Spain), Tom Chandler.